Annoyed with political ads? Google soon to give details

Annoyed with political ads? Google soon to give details

Search engine platform Google is set to launch its India-specific Political Advertising Transparency Report and searchable Political Ads Library in a bid to bring transparency into the General Elections of 2019.

This will provide comprehensive information about who is purchasing election ads on Google platforms and how much money is being spent. The India Political Ads Transparency Report and Ads Library will go live in March 2019, the company said. The California-headquartered company already has similar programme running in the US.

Verifications needed

As part of the move to bring more transparency, Google has renewed its ads policy in India. The updated election ads policy of the company for India will require advertisers that are running election ads in India to provide a ‘pre-certificate’ issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) or anyone authorized by the ECI, for each ad they wish to run.

Further, Google said that it will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms. The advertiser verification process will begin on February 14, 2019. Advertisers can refer to the Indian election ads policy for more details.

“We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world. In line with this, we are bringing more transparency to election advertising online, and surfacing relevant information to help people better navigate the electoral process,” Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director - Public Policy, Google India said in a statement.

As the elections for Lok Sabha for 2019 are nearing up, the principal political parties of India – Bharatiya Janata Party and Indian National Congress – have been revamping their information technology cells, in a bid for online one-upmanship. The political parties have seen social media and online advertisements as an effective means of communication in recent times.

Meanwhile, politicians are welcoming this decision by Google. "Google is taking a step in the right direction as voters need to know who is sponsoring ads and how accurate the claims made there are. However, whether this process will work for candidates is a challenge. Google needs a long lead time for its verification whereas candidates are announced very close to the actual election date," Member of Parliament for Karnataka, Rajeev Gowda told DH.